361. Onward, Mr. NOodle!

Yes, yes, onward, blogobstacles!! Let no man grow weary of slacking and surfing the net. We are the thin plutonium powder line between reality as we know it and impending chaotic doom of galactic marginalization and lardification.

“In a world where aliens and interstellar thugs reign havoc on the innocent, one man will rise to lead the broken nerd herd to conquerdom. A quiet hero called to duty by Elmo….”  Blast, boom, explode, sound effects. Bright lights. Hopeful music. And one chiseled face rises up on the screen… “His name? Mr. Noodle.”

How his name became a group’s battle cry is a long story without a beginning, middle, or end. Dave and Vicki and my wife and I and Dave’s two sisters were at Hauser’s Winery on the mountain top overlooking Gettysburg in late summer, early fall. There was a band around the corner but no seats for us, so we huddled against the warm stone wall at a metal table with eight chairs and drank wine, laughed, ate, and noodled around as we are prone to do. This was not our first rodeo, no sir. We would entertain and supervise ourselves, by golly.  Stories were told and an occasional dance occurred to warm up buns and feet in the evening chill. Not for Dave, though; he has the most unnatural covering of body hair known to homo sapiens and that insulates him year round. Vicki actually has to groom him twice a year with an electric razor that they also shave the dogs with. He was wearing shorts, of course. We wore sweaters and jackets.

As we carried on and played with words and songs, Deedee made the first reference to our hero. “Who is the guy who Elmo talks to? You know, he never talks.” Well, Sesame Street was two decades away in my memory vault. I could not even guess, but I can do an Elmo voice, which I proceeded to do. You see, when my oldest daughter was an only child, for almost five years, she loved to play dramas like The Wizard of Oz. She would be Dorothy and I was then compelled to be all the other characters, constantly changing voices and body language to entertain her and meet her approval. She was a tough audience. Still is. Anyway, I have a little bit of a mimic skill in me and can often imitate characters. For some reason I can do Marlon Brando’s Godfather voice by pretending to have a sinus infection while holding a dry prune in the back of my throat and gutturally groaning past it.

“You come to me , (inhale slowly) on the day of my daughter’s wedding,(exhale slowly) to ask me this favor? (Pause with a quavering lower lip) And yet, (inhale) I asked you to be my friend years ago, (exhale quickly) but you did not want my friendship.” It’s close enough to bring smiles.

But Elmo’s voice is all high pitched with simple vocabulary. No tone like Bert or Ernie or Grover, Super Grover!!

“Hey, hey Bert. Would you like to see my new ball?”

“No, Ernie. I am organizing my paperclips right now. It’s not a good time for me.”

“But Bert, I uh, I can bounce my ball and it comes right back to me. See? Can your paperclips do that? Huh, Bert? Can they? Huh?”

“Oh, Ernie, that’s silly. No one bounces paperclips. Why don’t you go on and roll your ball somewhere else, okay?  I’m just about finished here. Just straighten this last row out.  There.”

“But Bert, don’t you want to bounce my ball? Go ahead. It’s fun. You’ll love it, old buddy.”

“Well, okay, if you’ll leave me alone.”

Bert bounces the ball and it explodes onto his paperclip collection sending it all into a flittery fish scale mess.

Ernie. You ruined my work!! Now take your stupid ball and get away from me.”

“I’m sorry, Bert, old Buddy. Heeheeheee. That’s how the old ball bounces, hee hee.”

And Grover was the world’s best restaurant customer. In our basement my two younger daughters set up the Angel Café around a plastic kitchen set. They would make menus and set up a table with plates and a tea pot. Eventually I would be called to be their customer, at which time I’d channel my Grover.

“Here is your menu, sir. We have a spaghetti special today with salad and a roll and tea.”

(Sotto voce) “Order that, Dad.”

In falsetto Grover voice, “Uhhum! Waiter, I would like a bowl of bean and onion soup, please.”

“Sir, we don’t have soup. We have spaghetti.”

“I’m not interested in spaghetti. I had that for breakfast.”

“No you didn’t! Sir! You have to order from the menu.”

Grover, “I don’t care for your menu. I’ll have the soup.”

“Hmmmph. You are not playing right, Dad.”

Grover, “Who is this Dad you are referring to?”

“Nevermind! ”

Jessica, returning with a bowl and slaps it on the table. “Here’s your soup.”

Grover, “How rude! No wonder there is no one in your Café.”

Jessica walks away to gather her six year old wits.

Grover, “Ahhh! Waiter, there is a fly in my soup.”

Jessica snaps. “No there isn’t. We’re just pretending and you aren’t playing right.”

Grover, “I want to speak with your manager.”

Ten year old Grace arrives. “Sir, you are creating a disturbance and must leave.”

Grover, “Not until the fly is removed from my soup.”

Grace places the bowl on my Grover head. “There you go.”

Those were fun times for me and gave the girls a lot of material for later therapy sessions.

But, back to the winery and finally someone came up with Mr. Noodle. I don’t know if it was the wine or all the intellectual foreplay, but once his name was uttered, we all burst out laughing. For the next hour Mr. Noodle was worked into various comic contexts. We were helpless in our infantile humor.


“That’s what Mr. Noodle said.”


344. drizzle… the rain…deer

A glorious November  deteriorates into soggy goose down weather that slowly slides down the smoky gray skies. So long seventy degrees and no layers. Hello icy drizzles. Light the wood stove and keep it lit from here on. Seal up the windows. Get those stinking non functional Christmas lights up as the temperatures exit the fifties. Oh crap! they just blinked out again! Wait for a day in the thirties in January to take it all down again. Farump! Happily if not completely, the yard work is over till spring. Where’s that snow blower?  Better yet, where is that ticket to Tucson?

A few distant booms preceded the alarm this morning. It’s the first day of buck season in PA, a holy day for a million soggy pilgrims in the woods and fields of our commonwealth who worship at the Whitetail Temple of  Boom. Soon deer carcasses will be festooning  fenders and decorating truck beds as the happy hunters return home tonight. The grisly job of butchering lies ahead after the meat seasons a bit. Eventually it will find a way to the dinner table as burger, jerky, roasts, and steaks. Heck, I made a venison meatloaf yesterday that was la- la- la- luscious. The meat was either two or four years old. I couldn’t tell. It was deep in the frosty freezer and unlabeled, but still better than store bought beef. Mine were the only hands that ever touched that venison. Think about that as you eat your next burger served to you by a sniffly waiter at a greasy spoon.  “You want to thooper thize that, thir?”

I won’t be venturing out to kill Bambi this year. Standing in the rain last season doused my hunting flame for a while. Misery– cold, dark, chilling wet forest stagnation is all I recall from the time spent under an umbrella screwed into an oak tree. It felt like my penance for killing two deer over the past three seasons. Not that God minded; I respected and enjoyed those creatures. They did not die in vain nor did they die in rain. But no matter, this pilgrim is staying home for the duration. I can entertain myself with the written word, and cut and paste pictures like I do. It lasts longer than deer meat and usually does not smell so gamey. Go ahead and sniff your screen. Now smell some fresh kill venison. See what I’m saying?

But, gather round my chilly children and hear the tale of Drizzle the Whitetail Rain Deer.

Twenty five years ago on this very day a solo buck wandered into the old J.C. Penney store at the Southgate Mall, which borders the Conococheague Creek at the south west corner of Turtle Town, just above the flood wall. This deer was not shopping on Black Friday, folks. No. It was in rut, I think, and picked up the smolty unmistakable scent of Doe-Eyed Danger that Doris Muhlenberg wore at the perfume counter that dark and tragic day. Some shoppers say the buck saw a deer mannequin in the Christmas display window; others reported that it was being chased by a Tibetan yeti. (Of course, that was Fred’s belief. He’s got the bipolar bear complex.) Me, I’m going with the perfume theory. Crazy, I know.

Unreliable witnesses claimed the buck bolted up out of a patch of woods near the creek bed behind the strip mall, and pursued a woman in a three quarter length suede coat and black heels, later identified as Doris Muhlenberg (59) of 612 Franklin Street, apartment B.

Some say from a distance she looked like a doe prancing on her hind legs that day. She apparently walked or pranced briskly toward the shopping center, unaware of the buck bounding across the parking lot in hot, frothy pursuit.

Accounts differ after that. Some say the buck waited for the Walk sign to light up, and others claim he bounced right across Washington Street in one clickety jump. In either case, he landed in front of the store. He either waited for the electric door to open or blasted his way through plate glass, depending on which histrionic local you spoke with. What all agree on is that this buck had a constant post nasal drip so heavy that he left a puddle of drizzle on the pavement beneath the overhang. As the buck snorted and sniffed and cavorted after Doris, other witnesses unfamiliar with deer in the wild, believed he had allergies or a bad head cold. Possibly a chronic sinus infection. Thus the name Drizzle was given to him, and unlike most facts from that day, it stuck.

“After I put my lunch and coat away, I came out to the perfume counter station across from Ladies Intimate Apparel and Hardware Department. We have some size 3x ladies in town who require steel reinforcements in their bustiers. Oh, listen to me. TMI, as my grandkids say. Anywhoo, as I was settling down on my counter stool, I heard an ungodly commotion coming from the front, so I did. And what do you know? A drippy-nosed six point buck was slipping  and sliding on the tile floor.”

Hunching down in a whispery voice…

“I sensed I was in danger, so I crouched down a tad, keeping constant eye contact with the beast through the display case. I grabbed an atomizer full of Chanel # 5 in case he charged me. I read somewhere that deer hate aerosol sprays. I made peace with my Maker and braced myself for the most bizarre encounter of my life… worse than my honeymoon with my first husband.”

“That dang Drizzle was dazed from all his blood lust and perverting about. He sniffed and started trotting a bee line towards me. Suddenly, though, his front legs slipped out from under him and he crashed into an end cap full of ladies bras, several of which got tangled up on his antlers. I’ll never forget being eye to eye, no farther than you are to me, and seeing a Bali bra label at the base of his rack.It was a living lingerie nightmare, let me tell you.”Bali Lace Desire Demi BraJust then, Chief of Police Cecil Smack came rushing in brandishing his 9 millimeter sidearm. What a sight he was! I knew I was gonna live through this bralopalooza after all. So I stood tall to watch it all go down.”

“Out of nowhere Leonard Finkle, the maintenance guy who’d been moping all morning about having to work on the first day of buck season, came roaring out of Men and Boys with a box cutter in his hand. He leaped onto Drizzle and began to hack at him with the box cutter. Dang fool didn’t have the blade out, so all he did was ride the deer around Ladies Intimates and Hardware until poor Drizzle collapsed in a heap under Leonard’s weight. ”

“Later on the Game Warden come in and tazed old Drizzle and hauled him off to a petting zoo in Altoona. Truthfully?  I think the warden ate Drizzle for Christmas, but I can’t prove nothing. Any ways, the reporter and photographer showed up and I was in all sorts of newspapers, people wanting my autograph and deer meat. Some “friends” asked for the soiled bras, I mean, if they was gonna throw’m away any ways, and all. I mean they give me cup size and style just in case. You know what a good bra costs these days? Quite a few bucks, heh, heh…. That there is a joke. Y’all can laugh now.”


332. Warning: Wed Wed Wine Ahead

We were waiting at a Wuby Tuesdays wecentwee when my wife wheelwe wanted a gwass of wine. It had been a wery wong day and when the waitress asked what she wanted, she wepwied, “Wed Wine”.  We waughed and waughed at the wispy wesponse. We fought it would be wonderful fun to wite a wistful post inwolvwing onwee wetter substitutions that awe often found in speech pherwapy, shinsh it’s fun to pway withsh words. A shhsshpeechsh sharwapist oncsh towd me the worwasht shhshhpeechsh impairwament to wectify ish the shhshtupid shshound of the sshhtuck tongue that comes fwom making the “S” shshound wiff the tongue on the woof of your mouff. It musht be to jushtify shhusch a wicked weeaction. I can sschhee this post is going nowherwa fast. Sshcheee, I know these schlings are twue.

 It’shh even morwa amazshing when you shhink about Bugs Bunny and all the other voicshes that Mel Blanc pwoduced. No one found them insshulting or powiticawee incowwect. I’m not shchsuwa that we have cwossed that wine yet where cartoon chawacters awha held to wealwee high mowal wawlues. Has anyone cwaimed that the Woadwunnah bwowing up the Coyote wiff weapons from Acme Fiwahawms and Expwosives caused a school shooting? I need to wesearch that.  Can you even imagine witing those comic scwipts? Or was it all impwovised on the spot?  What a talent! West in peace, Ma-Ma-Ma-Ma-Ma Mel. Dats all.

 Much harder to see speech than to hear it.  So my written words will fail to spit and stutter, and lisp and curl the way misspoken words do. As Mr. Fudd would say, “It’s wery, wery difficult to werify. Warwer dan hen’s teeth.” Fortunatwee we have awwl sorts of tools today that Mel Bwanc da, da, de, da, di,di, did not have at his da- da- da- disposal, the internet ba- ba- being a bi- ba- ba- ba- bi- big one…

“I say, I say, I said Son, now put down that there mouse before, I said, before ya’ll get hurt.” Foghorn Leghorn

“Dis ain’t no mouse, Foghorn. Dis is a phone. Wing, wing. It’s for you. Boom! Whoops, did I say a phone?  I meant a bomb. I taught I heard a puddy phone.” Tweety Bird

“Of course, you know this means war.” Daffy

“That’sth justh desthpicable!!” Daffy

Image result for daffy duck pictures

And on an on they go. The king of all cartoon animals, though, is Bugs Bunny. He had it all, the savoir faire, the cheeky humor, the slippery escapes. Unflappable Bugs.

So, what does this all have to do with today? Wine, speech impairments, and beloved cartoon characters?  I don’t know, but I like a challenge.  How could they all come together in an almost believable though purposeless narrative? Let’s see…

Announcer voice: “It’s a lovely night at the Cartoon Academy Awards night gala, live from Ceasar’s Palace in Costa Rica. Your host for this gala is Elmerrrrrrrrrrrrr FUDD. Everyone, put your hands and paws together for Elmer.”

“Thank you wery, wery much. I want to furrrrst of all thank the academy furrr inviting me to speak to awl of you tonight, herwah. Oh my goodness. Dair are surre a wot of you out deir in the dawk, wabbits and wildmen, mice and ducks, and even my werwy good fwiend Woody Woodpecker.”


“Thank you all. Now, pwesenting the awawd fower Best Wabbit in a Comedy, is my fwiend and coweague, uh,uh, Mista Powky Pig.”


Porky Pig:  “Uh, wa-wa-wa-well, Thanks Elmer, tha-the-the-that was, was so uh, uh, special for me. Whew! Now, the uh, the uh, give me the envelope, uh, pa- pa-pa-  PLEASE!”

Offstage Bugs, “Gazuhnheit, Doc.”

“Thank you. Um the uh, nomina, nominats, nomen-i-i-inknees are– Bugs Bunny for a Rabid uh, a Rabid uh, a Rabbit’s Life. Brer Ra- ra- ra- ra- rabbit for Tales from Uncle Ra- re-ra remus, and Cindy the Playboy Ba- ba- bunny for, uh, um, ra- ra- ratings.”  Tearing, “And the, the , the winner is… Ba ba ba ba bugs Ba ba ba ba bunny.”

Image result for bugs bunny pictures

WILD Applause, Bugs enters drinking a glass of merlot. “Yeeahhh, Whatz up Porky?  Thank you, thank you, please continue. Thank you, thank you.” Sips wine. “There’s nuttin like a good bold merlot to go with a little gold statue.  Achoo!  Bless me. I am flabbergasted to be your choice for, uh, Best Wabbit in a Comedy. Yeeeeah, Humbled by the graciousness of your generosity as well as  up pawled by the fact the, uh, [stage whisper] doity little secret dat Brer Rabbit is in a Ramada Inn right now with Cindy the Playboy Bunny. Whatz up with that? Why couldn’t Brer Rabbit pick up this heyah metal and I get the Bunny Momma?”

Porky, “Eh, eh, Ba ba ba Bugs?  This is, uh, uh, live t.v. here Ba ba Buddy Boy. We ga ga got no time for uh, wa, wa wa dialogue muh mah muh malfunctions.”

Bugs, “Yeeeah, I know, Doc. Soitently. But it’s hard being a lonely hare. I don’t need another cold statue on my mantel. I got no bobbin’ tail to come home to. I need love too, Porkster. ”

Pepe le Pew, “Ah certainmah, mon ami. Oui Oui. Amore is the champagne of life, the effervescence of zee evanescence. Zee ennui of ratatouille. Zee arbonne of se se bonne.”

“Yeah, Doc. I don’t hear French real good or I’d have you arrested.”

Pepe, “Oh pardon, my bonhomie, I mean no such sing of infamy for you. May I ascyst you? On me vivre as a skunk, I pledge to you my undying aplomb.”

“Uh, yeeeeah. I’ll take a large Aplomb and, uh,  a salad with thousand island dressing and a Spwite. Pwease.”

“We are like bruzzers in arms, my little Brodent.”

“Ayyyyy, Doc, I gots a show to finish before we, uh, hug it out. So, Pepe, say it wiss me, ‘That’s All Folks’.”

Dim lights. Bugs exits with merlot…

“Ahhhhh. Full body, a dusky fruitiness mixed with old forest French oak.”

cue up theme song

“Red, red wine
Stay close to me
Don’t let me be alone
It’s tearing apart…my blue, blue heart.”